Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign has been defined by questionable actions and statements. Within the past month, the Republican nominee has been accused of buying fake Twitter followers, embracing right wing conspiracy theories, insulting the British Olympic preparations, and refusing to release past tax returns, despite substantial pressure–even from within his own party. Romney's governing philosophy is based on a neoconservative, faith-based paradigm. This is no idle accusation: Romney was the President of the Mormon's Boston Stake (similar to a Catholic deanery) from 1986 to 1994.
The doctrines of Mormonism purposefully condition followers of the LDS church to pledge direct loyalty to the organization's scripture and chain of command–as opposed to any set of externally verifiable ethics. An example of the organization's lack of ethics came in the form of an expose: In 2002, Assistant Attorney General and lifelong Mormon Jay Bybee drafted the Torture Memos while serving under the Bush Administration. This set of memorandum advised the CIA, the Department of Defense, and the president himself that harsh interrogation acts were not only permissible, but sometimes necessary. This is in direct conflict with the loving, peaceful, and forgiving teachings of Jesus Christ they supposedly espouse.
The religion of Mormonism is relatively young when compared with other branches of Christianity. It was founded in 1820 by Joseph Smith, who claimed to have been visited by God. In his vision, God revealed to him that every religion was wrong and that he, Smith, was the holder of the true faith.
The following are some of the beliefs held in common by Mormons:
1. God has a body of flesh and bone and resides on a planet near the star Kolob.
2. Jesus was married.
3. Dark skin is God's way of cursing us for our sins.
4. You can identify a false angel by their hair color.
5. The Sun receives its light from Kolob.
6. The Garden of Eden was in Missouri.
7. Because Satan rules the water, Mormons should avoid traveling by boat.
8. After a Mormon dies, they receive their own planet to rule over.
With beliefs like these, it's not only Mitt Romney's judgment that's in question, but even his ability to relate to the those of other religions–and nonbelievers. Reports from those who knew Romney during his tenure as church leader often describe the neoconservative as insensitive and lacking compassion. How much of this can be ascribed to his religion? Hard to say. But the more important question is how it will affect his ability to run the country.
A person's governing beliefs affect every decision they make. It is far from religious bigotry to be asking tough questions of a man seeking one of the most powerful positions on Earth.